The Maple Grove Community Center has provided employment opportunities for eQuality Associates since 2000. The center, as our longest tenured job site, has been an invaluable partner as we have grown – adding both new associates and expanded program opportunities over the past eleven years. At the community center Associates are integral members of the staff and assume the responsibility for a large portion of the general housekeeping tasks during the morning hours. Afternoons are filled by a combination of skill building experiences and community integration activities that utilize the facility. This mutually beneficial relationship epitomizes the relationships that eQuality has been able to develop with dozens of other community partners through the years. We are extremely grateful to the Maple Grove Community Center for providing the first opportunity for us to demonstrate the feasibility of a community based approach.
eQuality has been a member of the Eden Prairie Community Center family since 2008. According to Wendy Sevenich, Community Center Manager, the eQuality crew is by far the best managed group she has ever worked with. “They are kind, respectful, friendly and key contributors to the success of the facility. One constant comment I get from the patrons is how clean the site is. The facility would not look as good and so well kept if it wasn’t for the crew from eQuality.”
Beginning in May of 2010, eQuality has partnered with the Minnetonka Center for the Arts for arts instruction. eQuality Associates enjoy weekly studio art classes at the Art Center’s Ridgedale location. Not only do they learn from some great instructors, they have a lot of fun! When the Art Center received grant money from the State Arts Board, they proposed an expanded partnership with eQuality. We jumped at the chance. As a result of the grant funding, twenty-four additional eQuality associates have been able to take part in two more weekly classes. This activity is made possible in part by a grant provided by the Minnesota State Arts Board through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature from the State’s arts and cultural heritage fund with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.
In addition to classes in painting, mixed media, and print-making, associates were able to work with an artist/instructor to create a mural. The mural will be displayed publicly in the Ridgedale Mall atrium. Studio art classes are one more way that eQuality associates are active in the community.
eQuality has partnered with MacPhail Center for Music for “Music Therapy” sessions. Music is used to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of the associates by a qualified Music Therapist. Currently, only half-day sites participate in this program.
eQuality associates often tour the Minneapolis Institute of Arts to learn about arts from around the world. Due to the large display area of the museum, Associates tour section of the museum per visit to have ample time to learn about various arts. The associates also love going to the souvenir shop to purchase memorabilia from their trip to the arts institute.
The Sajai Foundation is dedicated to working with local communities to educate children about how to live a healthier life by encouraging them to get outdoors, to get active and to make smart nutrition decisions. eQuality partners with Sajai in different 5K marathon and volunteers at Water Stops.
The mission of Three Rivers Park District is to promote environmental stewardship through recreation and education in a natural resources-based park system. eQuality Associates visit the park every month for Environmental Education class. The class topics range anywhere from learning about an owl’s unique abilities and how to track them and what they have eaten; to learning about the cycle of the moon and when solar and lunar eclipse will take place. The associates also participate in hands on activities like bird watching, catching toads and frogs in the pond, and creating a “maze like” course for a very smart turtle.